European leftist Johannes Wilm goes to live in and study Douglas, AZ, a border town to Mexico, for half a year. At first sight, Douglas looks like nothing more than a run down company town -- after the Phelps Dodge smelter left in the 1980s. Interestingly though, Wilm discovers that old modes of social stratification disappeared together with the jobs. He looks at the part of the population that is most connected to the United States, and its view of the United States. Is the United States a protector against the poor masses that are streaming in from Mexico? Or is the United States a government and social structure that decides upon local things from far, far away? Wilm claims that "this book has to be seen as a tribute to the progressive sides of what Karl Marx termed the 'lumpen proletariat'."
this is a reformatted version of the original text from 2006 with a small update on the situation